HIV and Breastfeeding
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the most complicated and intelligent virus that has shook the entire world. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome i.e. AIDS. This virus mainly targets the immune system of the person and crashes it completely so that it does not recognize between self and foreign bodies.

Due to the lack of the proper immune system the affected person becomes vulnerable to all kinds of the diseases. Few of them include infections of the intestinal tract, brain, lungs, and eyes, as well as extreme weight loss, diarrhea, and some types of cancer. A cure to this disease is still not available. Scientists have found out that the way by which this virus acts is quite tricky and mysterious.

Mothers who are HIV+ may have to drop the idea of breastfeeding their babies since there is a chance of getting the baby infected with the virus. There are also chances of transmitting the virus to the child during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and during delivery apart from breastfeeding.

The risk of infection is more in case of breastfeeding than the other modes. It is also believed that the risk of infection increases proportionally with the duration of breastfeeding.

It is generally recommended not to breastfeed if the mother is HIV+. Instead the mother’s can rely on the supplement feeds that will provide all the nutritional requirements to the kids.

There are also other options available like feeding the kid with home-modified animal milk or other breast-milk options like heat-treated expressed breast milk, wet-nursing, or donor’s milk from a milk bank.

If the mothers are able to afford the replacement options they need not breastfeed anymore. But this may not be possible with everyone. In such cases, mothers can breastfeed in the starting months until a replacement option is found.

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